Sunday, November 25, 2012

Maze over the moon, Svindal faster than the rest

Svindal 4th time on top in Lake Louise

Aksel's great ability in gliding always made a great contender out of him for all the speed events in the very fast slope of Lake Louise, but up to yesterday he had never won a downhill there despite the 3 wins in SuperG.
The Norge had ruled the trainings though and clearly seemed intentioned to start well the season of the speed racers, but the field was very determinated to make the absence of the Suiss champions a non-factor - with Cuche retired and Feuz out for physical problems part of the media questioned the level of the field-.
Austrian Max Franz was one of them, having scored the best time in the first training and being one of the many hopes for the future of his team. And he didn't fail to prove his great abilities as with bib number 3 he crossed the finish line with a terrific time that none for long could better. The sole Fayed and Paris of the first 15 skiers on slope could do something close and that let them finish 7th and 8th respectively.
A great delusion once again came for Carla Janka, the former overall winner, who's still fighting with a severe back injury and seems to be unable to ski as he used to as he finished so much as 51st eventually.
Local star Erik Guay was the first to bother the time of the Austrian sensation, but by the end it wasn't enough as he finished just behind (6th at the end of the race). His 2nd place didn't last loger than a minute as right after him, Austrian Kroell showed all his sensibility to draw amazing trajectories and produce speed on the long last flat: but for a blink of an eye, or even less, 2 hundreds of seconds only, he couldn't better his team mate's time and so he finished right behind Fraz.
It was then Svindal's turn and it was just a ride to success as he did better than everybody else in all the sections of the slope but the very first leg. None seemed surprised then when he crossed the finish line with 60 hundreds of advantage to Franz who finished 2nd even by the end of the race. 3rd place for Kroell, who had to share the podium with a surprisingly relieved Marco Sullivan, who had a bib above 40!
Another surprise came for the 4th placed guy, as German Tobias Stechert went against the odds for his best placement ever in World Cup.

Another slope, the same outstanding Maze

Almost a month ago Tina Maze won the opening race of the season to size the first win in world cup after more than a year, but she didn't want to wait for so long again to grab another success and after a very positive slalom in Levi, she came to Aspen, here in the USA to consolidate her lead on the overall ranking, mostly in her beloved GS.
Differently from what happened in Soelden Tina Maze was still leading after the first run, but she had a very dangerous opponent really close to her as Austrian Fenninger was just 6 hundreds away from the lead. All the other girls, though, were pretty far from those two since Zettel, 3rd after the first leg, was over a second away.
Italian silver medallist in the latest ski World Championships, Federica Brignone, looked very in troubles as she was the only one of the top group not to make it to the second run, whilst Lindsey Vonn, despite her misterious illness, not only showed at the start, but could somehow stay close to top 10 after the first run.
Levi slalom's winner Maria Riesch, on the other hand, looked still far from the best days in that discipline and couldn't finish the run, giving the Slovene Maze a good shot to widen her lead on her.

The second run started with a poor run by Norwegian Hope Lotte Sejersted, but that was immediatly made up by a terrific run by French skier Taina Barioz who led the race for a very long time after as she finished as much as 7th at the end!
Another great recovery built on a solid second run has been made by the local rising star Mikaela Shiffrin, who scored her only 2nd top 30 finish in Giant Slalom, but could actually finish among the very best girls as she eventually finished 9th. The one who occupied the same placement after the first run, Lara Gut, was surely hungry for a come back to the places on top, where she belonged not many seasons ago. The Swiss showed as usual a great fighting spirit, but this time she hit a great run, very solid technically and almost errorless that gave her the lead when she finished it and most of all let her stay there for many more runs after as she finished 4th at the end.
Viktoria Rebensburg, last years' best Giant Slalom racer, wanted of course to recover from the 2nd run exit of Soelden and so she attacked the slope with no fear and it paid off as she could snatch the lead from Lara Gut and eventually made it again to the podium.
Sadly for the Italian Team, first run's surprise Irene Curtoni, 4th at the start, wasted a very convincing run with a huge mistake after the last intermediate when she was ahead of the German for more than half a second. Irene could still finish 5th, second best result in her carreer.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel broke Rebensurg hopes for a greater comeback, when she bettered her time at the finish line taking the lead and a secure place on the podium. All the pressure was then on the last two girls to come down Aspen's course and that seemed to take its toll on Anna Fenninger, whose race ended before-time, after very few gates because of a fall.
Tina Maze was then to start with over a second to administare during her second run and once again, like in Soelden, she did that very well, showing a great securety in her weapons and displaying her great techinque which let her gaining even more advantage in the first few legs and finishing with 90 hundreds over Zettel.

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